Written by Stuart Miller-Davis
Photo by Marc Lafleur
OTTAWA, Ontario – After a ceremony for all the graduating players, seniors’ night was capped off with a special moment as the Ravens offence over powered the visiting Laurentian Voyageurs in 6-1 win.
“It was a real nice ceremony to have their parents come out with them,” Ravens head coach Shaun Van Allen said. “It’s a great day for those guys and a recognition of how hard they have worked.”
“Guys go through a long ride here,” graduating forward Brett Gustavsen (Scarborough, ON) said. “It flies by so quick and it’s so nice to have that recognition.”
The Ravens got on the board first when defenceman Mike Constantine (Conception Bay, NL) fired a point shot that took a bounce off a Voyageurs stick and fooled goaltender Mackenzie Savard.
They doubled their lead when they burst into the Laurentian zone with a 3-on-1. Forward Dalen Hedges (Ottawa, ON) tried a pass across to linemate Jared Steege (Cobden, ON) that was blocked and shoveled the missed pass into the net himself.
The Voyageurs scored the only goal of the second when forward Russell Nowry sent linemate Hadyn Hopkins in on a breakaway, where he beat Ravens goaltender Justin Nichols (St. Catherine’s, ON) cleanly up over the blocker.
“A lot of our decisions with the puck weren’t good,” Van Allen said about the second. “We gave up three breakways and our goalie had to come up with some big saves.”
“We got away from basics,” Gustavsen said about the team’s play in the second period. “Our shift lengths go to long in the second. We noticed that and made sure we changed it in the third.”
The Ravens offence started to really find it’s gear in the third starting with a goal from the Steege Hedges combination. Steege fired a shot from the middle of the far side faceoff circle that rebounded out off the goalie and sat in front of the net for a second before Hedges hammered it home for his second of the night.
The Ravens further extended the lead when forward Matthew Forchuk (Okotoks, AB) broke past the defence and in alone on Savard. He calmly put a backhand behind the goalie for his seventh goal of the season.
The Ravens barrage of goals kept coming with Gustavsen getting in on the action. After taking the puck from first year forward Aaron Boyd (Winnipeg, AB), he sped into the Voyageurs zone and fired a quick wrist shot beating Savard blocker side.
Carleton added one more goal when Forchuk found Constantine sneaking in from the pint and fed him with the puck. The second-year defenceman fired a one timer under the glove of Savard for his second of the night.
Carleton gave the night off to its four top point getters Jake Smith (Oshawa, ON), Alexandre Boivin (Ottawa, ON), Brogan O’Brien (Prince George, BC) and Josh Burnside (Brampton, ON) along with starting goaltender Francois Brassard (Gatineau, QC) with the number 2 seed in the OUA East already firmly decided.
“It speaks to our depth,” Van Allen said about being able to get sizeable contributions from players seeing action for the first time in a while. “If you are going on any kind of playoff run your depth will be tested. As a coaching staff we have a lot of tough decisions over the year. The hardest part of the job is telling guys they’ aren’t playing. I was really for those guys to come out with that effort.”
“Our last couple games we have really come in with a playoff perspective,” said Gustavsen. “The playoffs are a completely different dynamic. We need to stick together as a team going in. We need to be positive, be upbeat, be resilient.”
The Ravens draw the UQTR Patriotes in the first round of the playoffs which are set to begin on Wednesday, February 13 at the Ice House.
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
#19 Mike Constantine–Defence–2nd year – Conception Bay, NL
UP NEXT: Carleton vs. UQTR Patriotes
Wednesday, February 13 -7 p.m.
Ice House–Ottawa, ON